Megan felt her phone vibrate in her purse. She pulled it out, and read the bright screen in front of her. Six simple words. "Car's outside. We need to talk." It was Patrick... what the fuck could he want? Did he have another problem with his girlfriend? Something with their parents? Their brothers? Maybe it was just the fact that it was a text, but something about his tone worried Megan. Her brother was an emotional guy, whether he was happy or angry, he showed that emotion. That kind of cold flatness... it wasn't like him at all.
She let go of Jack, thoughts racing out of her head. What about Cherry? Well, fuck her. If she hadn't found Megan, or at the very least fucking given her a call, then fuck her, for tonight at least. Cherry could go off and do her own shit, and Megan was pretty sure she already was. Megan had given her enough time that if she was around here, she would have at least ran into her. Besides, if any of them had seen another drunk classmate, they would have said something to her about it.
What about everyone else here? True, they thought she was a drunkard, and eh, they did seem to think that she was a little too flirtatious. But eh, what the fuck about that? She was a drunkard, and fuck yes, she could be a little too flirtatious! They all seemed nice, and she didn't want to just cut and run on them. Well, a moot point at the moment, since she didn't exactly have any fucking clue how she'd cut and run out of the maze, but eh. The moral point still stood.
Working through the drunk fog of her memories, she worked backwards. She'd had to remember where she'd walked drunk more than one time to pick up clothes in the morning, and eh, a maze doesn't stand a chance against a house packed full of horny dudes and drunk girls. She worked backwards slowly, thinking back her path..... and it clicked. She remembered now. She remembered how to get out. And as this realization came to her, and a eureka smile came on her face, her phone vibrated again. Three words this time. "It's about her."
"I'm sorry guys, but I have to go... It's pretty important." Her face completely changed from before. She wasn't happy, or flirtatious, or even angry like she had been when she first walked in on the group. She was smiling, but there was a sadness in her eyes that changed the whole expression. "It was really great to talk to you all- and I got the way out of here, by the way. Just follow me, and you'll get out fine."
With that, Megan turned, and started to job back the way she came. She didn't mean to seem impolite, but this sounded urgent. So she hurried into the night, and back to her brother. Hurried into the darkness.
"Patrick!" She was outside now, and she saw him, his car parked in front, waiting for her. Cigarette in his mouth, and that was the first sign of trouble to her. He had quit those two years ago, and the only time she had seen him with one in his mouth was when he was truly upset. But even worse was the way he was looking. The smoke just curled up around his face, and he didn't even react to it. He just started on, looking at nothing at all, a purely blank look on his face. Christ, he looked one of those fucking British guards.
"Get that shit out of your mouth, Patrick." She snatched it out of his mouth, and threw it to the ground outside of the car, before giving it a quick stomp with her heel. He didn't say anything to her, just looked at her, then down at the cigarette, then back up at her. Still with that same dumb expression on his face. It wasn't like one of those guards, though. He looked like a dog that had been kicked one too many times. It was the third sign, that lack of reaction, and this was what finally really set the warning bells going off in Megan's head. She ran over to the passenger side of the car, getting in quickly.
"What happened, Patrick? What happened this time?" She knew his girlfriend, Jodie, and she'd never liked that snotty bitch. But she'd tolerated her, because Patrick had been head over heels for her. But they'd been fighting lately, worse and worse fights each time, and Megan had known this day was coming. She had told Patrick her feelings on the girlfriend, and it had caused their worst fight since the night of the playoffs game. After that, Megan had kept her mouth closed about Jodie.
"Why..." He stumbled, and Megan saw there were tears forming in his eyes. "Why the fuck do they have to be so fucking selfish? Why are they always so fucking selfish?"
Megan didn't say anything. She didn't ask him what happened, or what he needed from her, or anything like that. She just hugged him, and held him close to her. Words from her would be useless now.
"I came to see her... it was her fucking birthday... I wanted to fucking surprise her. I had the present wrapped and everything, a nice dinner reserved..." Patrick's voice was thick with emotion, and at this point, the words caught in his throat. Then he spoke, and the words and tears started to pour out at the same time. "She was fucking another guy! She was half dressed, and he was half naked, lying there in her fucking bed... And I'm the fucking idiot standing there with the goddamn gift in my hand. I'm the fucking nice guy, the one who suspected it, but the one who never fucking said anything... And it's fucking appropriate that I'm the fucking one who plays the fall guy for her own problems. She cheats on me, and I'm the one looking like a fucking fool, in my nicest shirt, gift in my hand, crying in her fucking living room while some... some fucking preppy douche... some fucking piece of shit cocky bastard lights up a smoke in her fucking bedroom..."
"Why, Megan?" He shouted this, and she let go of him as he stared into her eyes, his own red and watery. "Why the fuck does this happen to me? Why the fuck does it need to hurt so fucking much? And why do I still fucking love her?"
She didn't say anything. She just held him in the car, and she pretended she didn't notice the gift sitting in the back. The one lying there unopened, with a little Peanuts love card taped to the top of it. She sat there, and she held her brother as he cried in a dark, dimly lit parking lot. She wished she could answer his questions. She really, really wished she could.
But if you've never known what love is, how can you know how much it hurts?
((Megan Collins continued elsewhere))
All in the game, yo... All in the game.- Omar Little, The Wire
J.J. Sturn- "I'm not a bad person. I'm not a bad person."
Mike Jeffries- "Don't worry, guys. Everything's going to be just fine."
Omar Burton- "I must say, I'm beginning to realize that I'm the only smart person in the room."
Kaitlin Anderheim- "I've never even talked to a guy before..."
DEAD THEY'RE ALL DEAD